What follows are some real life transcriptions of the occasionally funny exchanges between the air traffic controllers and pilots. Make up your own mind whether this makes it more or less safe to fly with the comedians in the air.
While taxiing at NY La Guardia, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.
An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between Cs and Ds, but get it right."
Continuing her tirade to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God, you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to do exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"
"Yes ma'am," the humbled crew responded.
Naturally the ground control frequency went terribly quiet after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to engage the irate ground controller in her current state. Tension in every cockpit at LGA was running high.
Then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out after landing with his approach speed a little high.
San Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if able. If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport"
From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue:
Unknown aircraft: "I'm f...ing bored"
Tower Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately".
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing stupid."
A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"
A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.
While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"
Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124."
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway".
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers...."
O'Hare Approach Control: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, eastbound."
United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the little Fokker in sight."
Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"
Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."
TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"
Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"
The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign "Speedbird 206".
Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944 but it was dark and I didn't land"
One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.
Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."
Looking for more fun? See some funny announcements on airplanes.
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Do you have any documentation from LGA during World War II when a back up tower was put at 43--55 Robinson St. Flushing NY 11357. in the upstairs bedroom of Dave Meshirer, In case LGA was damaged/bombed.
Gail Thomas on 03 February, 2019